If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, you are likely able to travel during most of your term. Just be sure to discuss air travel and extended trips with your health care provider ahead of time. When traveling, it’s also smart to carry a written record of your due date and any medical conditions you have.
As long as there are no identified complications or concerns with your pregnancy, it is generally safe to travel during pregnancy. The ideal time to travel during pregnancy is the second trimester. In most cases, you are past the morning sickness of the first trimester and several weeks from the third stage of pregnancy when you are more easily fatigued.
Whether you are going by car, bus, or train, it is generally safe to travel while you are pregnant; however, there are some things to consider that could make your trip safer and more comfortable:
- It is essential to buckle up every time you ride in a car. Make sure that you use both the lap and shoulder belts for the best
protection of you and your baby.
- Keep the air bags turned on. The safety benefits of the air bag outweigh any potential risk to you and your baby.
- Buses tend to have narrow aisles and small restrooms. This mode of transportation can be more challenging. The safest thing is to remain seated while the bus is moving. If you must use the restroom, make sure to hold on to the rail or seats to keep your balance.
- Trains usually have more room to navigate and walk. The restrooms are usually small. It is essential to hold on to rails or seat backs while the train is moving.
- Try to limit the amount of time you are cooped up in the car, bus, or train. Keep travel time around five to six hours.
- Use rest stops to take short walks and to do stretches to keep the blood circulating.
Traveling by air is considered safe for women while they are pregnant; however, the following ideas might make your trip safer and more comfortable:
- Most airlines allow pregnant women to travel through their eighth month. Traveling during the ninth month is usually allowed if there is permission from your health care provider.
- Most airlines have narrow aisles and smaller bathrooms, which makes it more challenging to walk and more uncomfortable when using the restroom. Because of potential turbulence that could shake the plane, make sure you are holding on to the seat backs while navigating the aisle.
- You may want to choose an aisle seat which will allow you to get up more easily to reach the restroom or just to stretch your legs and back.
- Travel on major airlines with pressurized cabins. Avoid smaller, private planes. If you must ride in a smaller plane, avoid altitudes above 7,000 feet.
- Although not very common, the risk of DVT can be further reduced by wearing compression stockings.
If you are traveling by ship, there are also some things to keep in mind. It may be a good idea, just in case, to ask your health care provider about which medications for seasickness are safe for you to carry along. Seasickness bands are useful for some people, although there is little scientific evidence that they work. These bands use acupressure to help ward off an upset stomach.
Another concern for cruise ship passengers is norovirus infection. Noroviruses are a group of viruses that can cause severe nausea and vomiting for 1 or 2 days. They are very contagious and can spread rapidly throughout cruise ships. Eating food, drinking liquids, or touching surfaces that are contaminated with the virus can infect people. Before you book a cruise, you may want to check whether your ship has passed a health and safety inspection.
Make sure you keep these things in mind if you are traveling outside of the country.
- The safest water to drink is tap water that has been boiled for 1 minute (3 minutes at altitudes higher than 6,000 feet). Bottled water is safer than unboiled tap water, but because there are no standards for bottled water, there is no guarantee that it is free of germs that can cause illness. Carbonated beverages and drinks made with boiled water are safe to drink.
- Do not put ice made from unboiled water in your drinks. Do not drink out of glasses that may have been washed in unboiled water.
- Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables unless they have been cooked or if you have peeled them yourself.
- Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish.
Avoiding travel from 32 weeks through birth is recommended for women who have complicated pregnancies with risk factors for premature labor, such as mothers carrying multiples.
Risk factors that warrant travel considerations include the following:
- Severe anemia
- Cardiac disease
- Respiratory disease
- Recent hemorrhage
- Current or recent bone fractures
Traveling during pregnancy can be done. Even though you are pregnant, you can still enjoy exploring different states and even countries by car, ship, or plane. The most important thing to remember is to always have an open communication with your health care provider before traveling anywhere.